Overview of recent changes to the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP): impact on the service
- J Patnick1
© BioMed Central 2004
Published: 14 July 2004
The NHS Cancer Plan of October 2000 announced two major changes to the NHSBSP. These were the introduction of two views to all screens and the expansion of the programme to include women aged 65–70. These changes together amounted to a 40% increase in workload and were to be introduced by the end of 2003 and 2004, respectively.
In order to cope with this expansion, new ways of working were developed. Many services already have assistant practitioners taking mammograms and radiographers undertaking elements of advanced practice, some of the latter are operating fully as advanced practitioners. A new computer system has been introduced and there has been a major re-equipping of the service.
All but a handful of screening programmes are now taking two views at each screen, and four out of 10 have expanded to include 70 year olds. With the exception of only a few, the rest should all be working to the new target age range by the end of this year.
Round length is now the most vulnerable area of the screening programme. Services are sometimes struggling to cope with delivering a high-quality expanded programme and maintaining 3-yearly screening.